I knew the axe would fall. Occasionally I would glance up and there it was, hanging by a thread. I’d spent a year finding a website strategist and then months fiddling with the design (thanks, Matt and Tom). I knew that Sylvia needed an online presence, but we had all the time in the world.
Suddenly, the Chicago Tribune dropped Sylvia. I focused as well as I could with a hatchet protruding from my head. (Okay, I’ll stop using that metaphor.) The result is badgirlchats.com.
Sylvia is still in syndication, appearing in other papers around the country, which is why I’m able to put up new cartoons every day. I do it, however, for half of what I earned when Sylvia appeared in the Tribune.
Facing an acute need to replace this lost income, I thought I would tap my longstanding desire to write essays on subjects I felt passionate about or silly events that caught my fancy. Placing these essays on a blog, I believed, would create a new revenue stream, quickly swelling to restore what had dried up. This is an example of Magical Thinking.
Recently one of Bad Girl’s fans asked if we always suggest clicking on the day’s comic to make it bigger because every click makes money. Oh… if only. I explained that we suggest enlarging the view because two friends wrote in, confessing that the print in the cartoons was too tiny for them to read and they could never find their glasses in the morning.
As I’ve worked on the blog, I’ve found new directions to take. I interviewed several talented young women cartoonists and ran their cartoons. Showing the work of young women cartoonists will be an ongoing part of BadGirls, so do send me your work.
I’m also interested in other kinds of storytelling and other voices; several of these have already appeared as guest bloggers. I have been featuring essays by writers I admire on the subject, “Long Dinners,” about sharing with others a meal that turns out to be revelatory, amusing or devastating.
Yet the need to face financial facts remains. Consequently, we will soon be experimenting with Google ad sense (non-intrusive print ads) as a way to offset some of our expenses. Truth be told, we blog for love. Love and money would be perfect, but that is not the case at the moment. The love is abundant; my tech wizard and my editor adore me, but I still have to pay them. Right now, the only income BadGirls generates is an occasional order for a signed cartoon copy.
But hey! Wipe that tear from your eye! If you’ve got a great monetizing idea, send it to me. Anything will be considered except starting a troupe of trained cats.
Nicole and Sylvia
BadGirlChats in the formative years…